Candice Fox is back with another humid, top-end thriller in the Crimson Lake series, and it’s a good ‘un!
In Gone by Midnight, Richie’s mother checked on him hourly in the Cairns hotel room. He’d spent the evening playing with his three mates while all the parents enjoyed kid-free time in the restaurant downstairs. The eight-year-old boys were all fine, right up until the last check, when Richie had suddenly vanished. He’d been there, then suddenly he wasn’t and none of the young boys could explain where he’d gone. Distraught about her missing son and gob-smacked about how he could have simply vanished with all the hotel’s CCTV security, the mother calls in private investigators, Ted Conkaffey and Amanda Pharrel.
In this, the third instalment of the Crimson Lake series, publicly-hated Ted and Amanda face some old, as well as some completely new, challenges. Ted is still reviled as an accused paedophile, despite police statements that he’s no longer a ‘person of interest’. It seems public condemnation is its own beast and Ted is still somewhat of a prisoner in his own life, especially when the three-year-old daughter he hardly knows arrives for her first holiday with her father. He’s not free to take Lillian out in public and his reputation also threatens to douse a new flame before it’s properly lit.
Amanda Pharrel is Crimson Lake’s most notorious murderer turned PI, and the cops never tire of targeting her. This time, however, the former partner of a police woman who died protecting Amanda is out for blood that might just signal the start of a war between police and the underworld of bikies and crims that Amanda inhabits.
But all of this fails to deter Ted and Amanda from their primary task of finding missing Richie. As the pair get closer to the truth, so does the very real danger to them and the people they love.
This third instalment is another great character-driven thriller from Australia’s crime queen, Candice Fox. Never one to shy away from taboo subjects or the ugly underbelly of crime in the top end where bad people go to slip off the grid, Fox delivers yet again. Her trademark horror is balanced with quirky loveable characters, wicked dialogue, maddening humidity and crocs lurking in the mangroves just waiting to swallow you up.
If you loved the first two books in this series – Crimson Lake and Redemption Point— be assured that Gone by Midnight is another winner. Fox just gets better with each book. Let’s hope there’s many more to come in this outstanding series.
Reviewed by Samantha Bond
Rating out of 10: 9
Distributed by: Penguin Random House Australia
Released: January 2019